I certainly never hated any of the Panthers’ old uniforms. (Except that blue alternate they used for a couple of years. Blue? Come on.) I even kind of liked the leaping panther logo; it certainly dated the look, but not in a bad way, if that makes sense. Of the many teams that could use a makeover, this was not one of them. But last night, the Panthers revealed the first major visual overhaul in the franchise’s history—and I really, really like it.
Have a look:
The single wide, horizontal stripe works well (the resemblance to the Canadiens’ sweaters is obvious), and the gold is a good replacement for the old yellow, which always felt a little too bright. Overall it’s a lot cleaner than the old ones, eliminating the colored shoulders.
The logo had come in for preliminary criticism, with some saying the crest felt too soccer-y. Indeed, it’s the first real “shield” logo, unless you want to count the Kings (Correction: and Rangers, goddamnit, it’s Friday, cut me some slack), but I do think it works. Appearing relatively small on the chest, especially when compared to the old leaping panther, probably helps with that.
The inspiration for the logo is said to be the insignia of the army’s 101st Airborne, the “Screaming Eagles,” which was owner Vinnie Viola’s old division. The state flag and the captains’ patch on the sleeve (see that here) add a little more military feel to the whole thing. Definitely not accidental; the Panthers, especially under Viola, have been playing up their military connections, and last night announced they will play a preseason game at West Point next fall.
The military stuff may be good for branding, but it doesn’t always translate to aesthetics—look at the San Diego Padres to see how that can go wrong. But I think the Panthers’ look is great. Someone do the Avalanche now.